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Dungannon Open Win Account In Athlone

Dungannon Open Win Account In Athlone

Dungannon upset the form book when they recorded their first victory in this season’s Ulster Bank League, overcoming Buccaneers by 14 points under the Dubarry Park floodlights.

In the process, the injury-depleted 'Gannon scored four tries to also pick up a welcome bonus point in a game played in nippy but otherwise ideal conditions in Athlone.

Despite the absence of injured captain Kolo Kiripati and 'flu victim Mark Dolan, Buccaneers were close to full strength for the visit of the Tyrone club.

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Meanwhile, Dungannon were missing a raft of frontline players including their captain Mark Jenkinson and gave a first Ulster Bank League start to the 37-year-old Plunkett McCallan in the second row.

The visitors got off to a satsifying start with Steven Sinnamon finishing off an early flurry for a third minute try which Jaryd Bennett converted.

Buccs were strangely lethargic in the opening quarter. They had a chance to open their account, 14 minutes in, but Jack Carty's penalty from the 10-metre line went fractionally the wrong side of the posts.

Nevertheless, they were level by the midpoint of the first half when Callum Boland finished off some good build-up play to touch down out wide on the left, with out-half Carty adding a fine conversion.

Bennett was off target with a penalty six minutes later but then, following a penalty which he lofted to touch on the left, he conjured up a smartly-taken try.

Following the lineout, the Dungannon number 10 received possession to coolly outfox Conor Finn and dart in for a try at the posts which he also converted.

While Dungannon had had two games since the previous round of the Ulster Bank League, Buccs had been inactive and it showed, particularly glaringly in the lead up to the Ulster side's third try just before the break.

There was a plethora of errors and indecision by the midlanders as replacement Glen Sinnamon ambled over for a 38th minute try that went unconverted.

It is not often that two props score tries and even rarer when this feat is accomplished by brothers in the same match as Dungannon led 19-7 at half-time.

Although Eoghan Grace, Peter Reilly and John O'Brien made sallies into promising positions, Buccs woes continued in the second half. They lacked urgency throughout and were regularly too slow in getting support to the ball carrier.

Unforced errors abounded in a very flat showing which was hugely disappointing, especially to head coach Hendre Marnitz in charge of his final home game before his return to a position with Super 15 outfit, the Bulls, in his native South Africa.

But it seemed that maybe the Pirates could plunder something from this contest when David Heffernan got in for a well-taken 58th minute try in between two penalty misses by Stuart McCloskey, who had taken over place-kicking duties for Dungannon, his first effort rebounding off an upright.

Although Carty was unable to convert from wide on the left, Buccs were now back in the hunt despite their off-colour performance.

However, Dungannon continued to go about their business in a solid, workmanlike and more cohesive manner and the busy Ali Birch sunk the Pirates when he careered through for a 72nd minute try which impressive former Bucc Bennett duly converted to seal the 26-12 winning margin.

Referee: Jonathan Peak (IRFU)